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MODERN EGYPT

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Author Topic: MODERN EGYPT  (Read 6737 times)
Bianca
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« Reply #60 on: January 22, 2009, 10:28:35 am »









One thing is certain, and that is that the project to restore Khedivine Cairo started off on the right foot. Downtown was the starting point of Khedive Ismail when he aimed to modernise Egypt by building quarters adopting European styles of architecture from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. However, it was Mohamed Ali Pasha who really pushed this shift further.

According to Nelly Hanna's book Misr Om Al-Donia ( Egypt: The Mother of the World ), the real drive to modernise Egypt was made by Mohamed Ali Pasha, who charted the first straight wide street between Al-Qalaa (Citadel) district and that of Al-Azbakia and named it after himself. Moreover, he was the first to adopt the foreign architectural designs in Egypt, when building his Shubra Palace back in 1808. This yearning to modernise Egypt in general and its architecture in particular was passed on to Khedive Ismail whose modern districts were the new government quarters and hence attracted the Egyptian elite.

Hanna's book also reveals the difference between the regular and modern urban designs back in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Unlike the regular designs of Egyptian residential districts back then, with one main central road with various ally extensions, the foreign style adopted straight, wide, open-ended streets rid of narrow allies and dead-end streets. In addition to vast squares, the spacious new quarter with its wide streets gave room for modern means of transportation to find their way. Gradually Downtown and several neighbouring quarters -- which together form what is known as Khedivine Cairo -- came to represent the beating heart of an entire era's commercial, economic as well as cultural activities. As such the area stole the show from the older Islamic Cairo quarters, which were left to handicraft and lower middle-class workers.
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« Reply #61 on: January 22, 2009, 10:29:59 am »









Much has changed since then, of course. Having deviated from its original status, Khedivine Cairo -- or all Cairo for that matter -- has long been in desperate need for greater urban harmony. Though numerous governmental and non-governmental efforts were exerted from the 1980s onwards to preserve what is left of the glamour, there was no sustainable element or legal entity to preserve or coordinate such restoration efforts. So it was that NOUH's role started to take shape several years ago, as new laws began to be passed regarding the preservation of urban space and architectural heritage nationwide.

"At first, we researched Egyptian urban plans and divided it into 13 different categories, from heritage to shantytowns, "said Gharib, adding that each category is dealt with according to its nature. Taking Khedivine Cairo as an example, he explained that buildings shall be restored in their original shape and colour, because they are part of our heritage as they are. On the other hand, coastal buildings, subjected to constant sunlight, ought to be painted in light colours or white, since the water reflects the sunbeams doubling their reflection on the buildings.

But what about new buildings that defy all forms of urban harmony? According to the law of urban harmony 119/2008, NOUH is the authority that governs and monitors the general rules and regulations applicable to all forms of urban planning. "This means that when necessary, we change the colours of any new building that clashes with existing ones. We apply a general rule, which states that buildings in any given residential area should be in harmony with one another. Harmony is our name; this principle ought to be applied through colour coordination. New buildings should fall into such harmony," he noted. "Penalties will be passed on whoever disturbs the restorations of any old building and whoever builds a new one that does not follow the urban harmony district code," Gharib warned.
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« Reply #62 on: January 22, 2009, 10:31:43 am »









As for the demolition of buildings of special significance, this is governed by Law 144/2006, which protects Egypt's architectural heritage, in addition to Law 119/2008 by which preservation falls under NOUH's authority. NOUH in turn has committees in all governorates to take note of rare buildings, and preserve them.

For his part Gharib is head of the appeal committee, which allows owners of ancient buildings to appeal in order to get a demolition order. Being in such a position gives NOUH the upper hand in preserving our architectural heritage.

From Beheira governorate to Assiut, dozens of NOUH's projects have been implemented from charting streets to preserving historical buildings. But what about shantytowns, will they ever be included? Considering that some 40 per cent of Egypt's districts are unplanned shantytowns, Gharib stated that NOUH has developed a guide to plan these areas. "Unfortunately, the government overlooks our role in shantytowns, because we as an organisation are relatively new," he lamented.
 


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« Reply #63 on: January 26, 2009, 08:51:57 pm »




             

              Clockwise from top left:

              a view of the museum's nightclub;
              one of the showcases;
              a limestone head of goddess Hathor;
              El-Achmawi with a granite statue;
              a naos with god Osiris and a stele

              photos courtesy of the SCA










                                                       Artefacts on show in nightclub






Jan 26, 2008
Al Ahram Weekly

An Egyptian antiquities collection at the …stergötlands Country Museum in Stockholm, Sweden, will soon be back in its homeland, Nevine El-Aref reports
 
After being on display for almost five decades at the …stergötlands Country Museum in Stockholm, a collection of 212 artefacts ranging from the early pre-dynastic era right through to the Coptic era will be coming home soon.

The story of the collection goes back to the late 1920s when Otto Smith, an antiquities lover, excavated several archaeological areas in Saqqara and Luxor during his several visits to Egypt. The 212 objects he is known to have unearthed included wood and ivory arrows, painted and plain clay vessels, pots, fabrics, chandeliers, mirrors with a design of the goddess Hathor, wooden combs and limestone reliefs with ancient Egyptian engravings as well as marble, limestone and granite statues depicting Pharaonic deities and nobles. There are also a number of marble vases, rings made of animal bone, beads and coloured scarabs.

Smith kept his priceless collection at his house in Stockholm all through his life until he died in 1934. In 1956 his grandson, who was not able to take care of it, sent the collection to the neighbouring …stergötlands Museum for restoration. In 1959, Smith's family offered the 212 pieces to the museum according to a contract preserving the family's ownership of the objects as well as the right to recover it at anytime if it was subjected to deterioration or negligence, placed in storage or removed from its current display at one of the museum's galleries to any other place in the museum.

Regrettably, over the last 10 years successive visits to the museum revealed that the administration had violated the articles of the 1959 contract as 163 items of the collection had been removed from their original display at one of the galleries to its restaurant, which is located at the basement, while the others had been stored.

The Smith family therefore saw that the most perfect way to rescue the collection was to retrieve it from the museum and offer it to Egypt. Thomas Adlercreutz, the family's representative and lawyer, contacted the Egyptian Embassy in Sweden, which in turn contacted the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) to set about resolving the case legally and diplomatically.

The SCA sent their legal consultant Achraf El-Achmawi and Egyptologist Amr El-Tibi to investigate the case. El-Achmawi told Al-Ahram Weekly that inspecting the restaurant where the objects were exhibited revealed several negative aspects that were helping to exacerbate their deterioration. The objects, he said, were very badly displayed and in a very poor condition of preservation. Some are stuffed into two vertical showcases located in a corner among the tables and chairs of the restaurant, while the others were exhibited freely on wooden bases where they were exposed to humidity, water vapour and smoke emanating from the restaurant's open kitchen. Cigarette smoke, heat exhaled from guests' breath and direct lighting also played a destructive role on the objects.

One of the worst aspects, El-Achmawi pointed out, was that every night the restaurant was used as a nightclub where people danced and sang, whereby the objects were in immediate danger of accidental damage.

El-Tibi told the Weekly that the 212 pieces were considered among the finest known, displaying as they did significant phases of Egyptian history and culture and the different styles of art used by ancient artisans from prehistory to the Coptic era.

"Among the rare objects in the collection are contemporary animal figures, a granite naos with a statuette of the god Osiris, a stele from the Amarna era, a distinguished decorative vase and a Greek statue of a priest named Nesmin," El-Tibi said.

Following several negotiations between Adlercreutz and El-Achmawi, an initial agreement towards recovering the collection was achieved. Adlercreutz made a written avowal to the effect that the Smith family did not possess any documentation confirming their ownership of the collection, nor did they have written approval from the Egyptian government allowing Smith the 1920s archaeological digs. The avowal also affirmed that the objects were not offered to the Smiths, nor exchanged for other artefacts, nor were a result of the division of antiquities between two excavation missions as it was applied during the 1920s according to the old antiquities law.

"Such an avowal was registered at the Swedish real-estate administration, as well as a list showing the number and archaeological significance of the collection," El-Achmawi said. Now, following all these procedures, Egypt has asked the Swedish government for the return of the collection which is expected to return to its homeland soon.

"It was really a challenge," El-Achmawi told the Weekly with some enthusiasm. He explained that the collection was regarded as the museum's only collection of Egyptian antiquities. When Egypt recovered them, he said, the …stergötlands Museum would not have any Egyptian pieces among its exhibits. "Such an endeavour is a concrete step towards returning Egypt's smuggled heritage and a tag that the SCA will use as leverage in similar cases in the future, specially in recovering smuggled objects exhibited in international museums," El-Achmawi said.

This week in Bulgaria Interpol apprehended Lebanese antiquities trader Ali Aboutaam, who was accused of smuggling antiquities out of Egypt. Zahi Hawass, secretary-general of the SCA, said Aboutaam was convicted in the famous antiquities smuggling case of Tarek El-Seweisi, who was caught by the Egyptian police in 2003 and convicted of stealing and smuggling Egyptian antiquities.

El-Seweisi collaborated with Aboutaam to smuggle 280 artefacts out of the country by packing some of them as glass bottles and hiding others in large boxes of children's toys and electronics, all labelled with the name of a well-known international exporting company.

Hawass added that investigations carried out by General Prosecution in Egypt revealed that Aboutaam helped El-Seweisi to smuggle the artefacts out of the country. He was the eighth criminal to be convicted in the case, but was still at large until last week when Interpol caught him in Bulgaria. In April 2004, the Criminal Court in Egypt sentenced him in absentia to 15 years imprisonment and a fine of LE50,000.

In collaboration with the General Prosecution, the SCA was able to retrieve 1,000 objects from Switzerland and Britain that had been smuggled out of the country.

Three years ago the FBI told Hawass, who was then receiving one of three reliefs from Akhmim which were stolen by another convicted smuggler, about Aboutaam's illegal activities. "Catching Aboutaam is a concrete step towards stopping the trade in illegal antiquities around the world," Hawass told the Weekly. He added that since 2002 Egypt had succeeded in recovering 5,000 stolen and smuggled antiquities.

 


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« Reply #64 on: February 03, 2009, 07:51:28 am »




               








                                                    Bathing 13 centuries ago







 Al-Ahram Weekly
Feb. 1, 2009

A 250-METRE-long embankment, a quay and some Ptolemaic baths are the most recent discoveries at Karnak Temples, Nevine El-Aref reports.

Coincidence always makes for important discoveries. It led to Tutankhamun's tomb, the distinguished funerary collection of King Khufu's mother Hetep Heres, and those of Pharaoh Akhenaten's grandparents Yuya and Thuya, to mention just a few. This time, it makes a better understanding of the construction plans of the temples of Karnak as they were drawn by the ancient Egyptians.

During routine excavation work carried out by an Egyptian archaeological mission in the front courtyard at Karnak, part of the Karnak Temples site management project for the area enclosed between the temples and the Nile, a 250-metre-long embankment used to protect Karnak from the Nile flood was discovered, along with a quay, baths and a settlement.

Zahi Hawass, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said that early studies on the newly-discovered structures revealed that the quay, the first part of which was discovered last year, was constructed as part of the embankment. The quay consists of two opposite steps leading to a five-metre-long ramp made of sandstone blocks brought from the quarries of the Silsila mountains in Aswan.

"This kind of stone can stand against the erosion of Nile water," Hawass explained, adding that because the ramp was very steep towards the Nile, the 25th Dynasty Pharaoh Taharka (690--664 BC) built a small royal quay in the middle of the ramp which on its turn divided the ramp into three sections.

"The embankment and the quay were found at the northern gate of the Karnak complex, which was formerly used as the temples' main entrance in winter when the Nile level was low.

While examining the embankment structure, archaeologists found a number of holes used to attach the ropes of the boats while docking. Mansour Boreik, director of the mission, told Al-Ahram Weekly that further excavation at the site had uncovered remains of two villages on the quay, one Ptolemaic and one Roman, which suggested that the movement of the Nile varied over the span of history and its path had veered slightly towards the western side. Such changes, Boreik said, enabled the ancient Egyptians to build a residential settlement during the Ptolemaic and Roman ages.

"It also helped to better understand the Nile flood evolution in front of the quay," Boreik pointed out.

At the last course of the embankment a Ptolemaic bath was found. The building is characterised by its circular domed chambers, each with an oval hip bathtub with an individual seat for washing, 90cm in length and 20cm in width. "This is the second bath to be found in this area," Boreik said, adding that it was built between the beginning of the third century BC and the first decades of the second century BC.

 


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« Reply #65 on: February 03, 2009, 08:03:46 am »








                                                                  Esna revisited



                                          In Esna, Giovanna Montalbetti takes stock of history







Feb. 1, 2009
Al-Ahram Weekly

History is fickle: a city bursting with life today may well slip into oblivion tomorrow. The cycle that seems unavoidable for all cities and empires, albeit to greater or lesser degrees, is sometimes quick and definite, leaving no physical trace of a given site's former glory. This is the case of Troy, for instance. In other cases, the process is slower and the cities remain, and instead decay very gradually. Ironically this is the more lethal blog to a city's fame. A city whose brightness slowly fades is not the stuff of legends, as it does not trigger the imagination, nor does it awaken our curiosity.

Speaking with General Manager of Coptic and Islamic Monuments of Upper Egypt Nasr Mohamed Ewedah, I realised that although it remains one of the region's most important cities, Esna has definitely lost some of its past lustre.

Located some 33 miles south of Luxor, Esna has been known under many different names. During Pharaonic times it was Iunyt -- after the goddess featured in the Amduat -- and later Ta Senet, meaning the Holy City. The Greeks knew it as Latopolis for it was believed here the perch-like fish, lates, embodied the goddess Neith, considered sacred in the area. It was said that a cemetery for these holy fish was located west of the city.

According to Ewedah, Esna's most important monuments from the Pharaonic period are the Al-Muaalla tombs on the east bank of the River Nile, featuring that of Ankhtifi, from the First Intermediate Period. Few visitors come to see them though, as Esna is best known nowadays for the Ptolemaic temple of Khnum, and for being the location of the locks crossed while on the Nile cruises.

Esna's importance grew during the 18th Dynasty as Egypt's relationship with Sudan developed. But the Esna-Derr route was not to hold its capital importance for long. It would have to wait until the 26th Dynasty to regain its interest, becoming under the Greeks and Romans the capital of the Third Nome of Upper Egypt.

"It was later called Steti or Sne by the Copts," Ewedah told Al-Ahram Weekly. "Until we got to its Arabic name, Esna."
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« Reply #66 on: February 03, 2009, 08:05:30 am »




             






Clockwise from top:



the second oldest minaret in Egypt was built in the Fatimid era;

the only remaining mill to extract lettuce oil;

once thriving with business, the condition of the textiles market has now deteriorated;

the rich architectural style of Esna
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« Reply #67 on: February 03, 2009, 08:11:09 am »









During the Roman era the city became tragically famous as the City of Martyrs. Esna, many of whose villagers were Coptic, witnessed persecution under the reigns of Decius and Diocletian. In 250 AD Decius issued an edict for the suppression of Christianity in simple terms. By a certain date, that varied from place to place, all the inhabitants of the empire were required to make a sacrifice to the Roman gods. The accomplishment of the sacrifices would be officially registered by the magistrates of the community, who would give each individual a libellus or certificate. Those who refused were to be sought after and sentenced to death.

Decius became known as "the fierce tyrant", but it would be a few years later, under Diocletian, that Christians in Esna would suffer the fiercest persecution yet. As Ewedah explains, "the emperor sent in his troops, who murdered 80,000 martyrs. There is a tomb named 'The Three Brothers'. In it rest the bodies of three brothers, their mother and their sister. It is said the Romans killed them and dined on their bodies."

"There are many monasteries in this area," Ewedah added. "Deir Manaos wa Al-Shuhada, or the Monastery of the Three Thousand Six Hundred Martyrs, is considered a commemoration to these emperors' persecutions. The 10th century church is said to be one of the most beautiful in Upper Egypt. But there is also Deir Al-Fakhouri, or the Monastery of the Potter, who like the ancient god Khnum in Esna Temple, sits and creates the world out of mud," he smiles. So it seems, cultures have mingled in Esna right from the start.

Esna was also famous during the times of Fatimid ruler Al-Mustansir Biallah. According to the historian Al-Maqrizi, it was during this time that a great famine scorched Egypt, and even then Esna was described as having many buildings and green gardens, with waters that didn't ebb and with rich agriculture which helped the country in facing the crisis. The historian also mentions how Esna was a meeting point for many of the major poets of the time.

Ewedah tells of a silent witness to Esna's splendour during this period: the Emari Minaret -- one of the oldest minarets in Egypt -- which can be traced back to Badreddin El-Gamali, who built the walls of Cairo, and which escaped the mosque's demolition in 1960.
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« Reply #68 on: February 03, 2009, 08:12:43 am »










It was during the Ottoman era that the city's commercial centre was built. Wekalet Al-Gedawi stands north of Esna Temple, and owes its name to its chief merchant and owner Shahbandar Al-Toggar Al-Sayed Hassan Al-Gedawi. Merchants from Sudan, central Africa, Somalia and Kenya were just some of those travelling through the Aswan road to stay in the second floor of the Wekala. They stored their goods in the first floor until they could display them at the market that was regularly held in the Wekala's courtyard. The Berber sold baskets and other items made of dyed palm leaves. Other star products arriving to Esna by caravan were Arab glue, ostrich feathers and elephant tusks.

If the Wekala was the place to find imported goods, the Kaysariya, consisting of shops arranged in a long alley covered with wooden ceiling, was the local city market. It was towards the end of the Ottoman period, in 1798-99, that Napoleon's troops and scholars arrived to Esna. In Description de l'Égypte, the city is portrayed as surrounded by low lands with good agriculture to the south, and with gardens kept by expensive irrigation to the north. They described how the city was "on top of an eight to 10 metre-high hill of ruins."

Despite the large number of boats in its port, the French noticed many of Esna's outer brick houses were destroyed as the city was built in the part of the river where the tide flowed strongest to the shore, eating into and collapsing both the shore and the houses on it. Apart from describing the Esna Temple, they pictured in their illustration plaques the ruins of four other nearby temples that have now disappeared, an inventory for which can be found in the walls of the temple of Khnum.

Napoleon's expedition also took note of the political intricacies of Esna -- a safe exile for the beys in opposition to Cairo rulers -- and of the peaceful coexistence between Muslims and Copts.

Partly as a result of this cohabitation, Esna's industry flourished. Caravans promoted the horse trade business in the area, and some local products were on high demand. The city had become the manufacturing centre of huge amounts of soft raw cotton fabrics, and of the big scarf known as halayah, used widely in Egypt. The area also produced the aads esnawi, the famous Esna lentil. There were five or six small clay factories where pottery was made, and around 20 presses to produce vegetable oil for gastronomic and medical purposes, such as onion, sesame or lettuce oil amongst others.
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« Reply #69 on: February 03, 2009, 08:14:03 am »









Only one of these presses survives today, and that is the Bakour press. Its current owner is Abdel-Hamid Abdel-Radi Ahmed Bakour, who proudly explained to the Weekly that the oil press has been in his family for countless generations. "It is Pharaonic art," he said. "We know from our grandparents that all the oils were made like this." When asked about any famous saying related to the oil press, he looks at the pressing stone that came so long ago from Aswan and reflects: " Yetlaa men al-maasara yekhosh al-tahoun," which literally means: Out of the press and into the mill. "That is how some people suffer in this life," he sighs.

Bakour yearns for the days when the press was swarming with activity, but most oil is bought bottled nowadays. But he is not the only one overtaken by nostalgia: even the city's intricate streets appear to dream of a more frenzied past. Walking through the city, it seems time is moving slowly over Esna and its gentle people.

During the era of Mohamed Ali, Esna was one of the governorates of Egypt. It ran from Gerga on the north to the Shalalat waterfalls south, including Aswan and other cities. Ali Pasha Mubarak also discussed the beauty of its houses, its antiquity treasures and the growth of its population. There used to be a well famed tarboush factory back then. It is now long gone.

Gustave Flaubert marvelled at lively Esna in 1849, and 30 years later Emilia Edwards wrote about the city, impressed by its activity and by the existence of its buried temple. Then in 1909 the first barrage in Esna was constructed, and just like the waters of the river, the rhythm of the city became a little less frantic. Today, visitors walk straight from the boats to the narrow alley full of tourist shops in which sellers seem to shake off time's spell in order to call out in all languages. Except for the temple, they are unaware of the fact the streets they walk through are testimony to a much richer history.

 


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« Reply #70 on: February 03, 2009, 08:18:01 am »










                                                        Protecting knowledge







Feb. 1, 2009

On the fringes of the Cairo International Book Fair publishers and writers call on authorities in the
Arab world to fight intellectual property theft, Nevine El-Aref reports

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Upon discussion with his deputy Ibrahim El-Muallim, who is also president of the Egypt Publishers Association (EPA), the newly elected president of the International Publishers Association (IPA) for
the next two years, Dutch writer Herman P Spruijt, paid a visit last Monday to the Cairo International Book Fair (CIBF). Enthusiastic over what he saw there, Spruijt described the fair as a festival for intellectuals and the learned and a hub for different cultures.

During a press conference held in the 6 October Hall, Spruijt began by asking four questions that consumed his thoughts: Why is Egypt introduced in the international market with a tiny quota of writers and books despite its long history in publishing and its great cultural wealth in the field? How can the number of CIBF visitors reach two million and the number of international publishers and professionals attending remain modest? Why has Scotland some 14,000 books available on the Internet while the Arab world goes unnoticed? Why is the number of layout professionals of international publishing standard in the Arab world, Africa and Latin America less than five per cent of the norm elsewhere? "But the most important question is: How can we change that?" Spruijt said angrily.

"If we are serious about promoting publishing in the Arab world it is very important to be more serious in promoting intellectual property rights and highlighting their significance and value for the different communities of the Arab world," Spruijt said. This issue was in the mind of the IPA, he said, when it decided to organise the seventh IPA International Copyrights Symposium in the Arab world, slated for Abu Dhabi in 2010. Other initiatives have been undertaken to make this region attractive for publishing, including efforts to fight piracy and create awareness of publishing rights in the Arab world.

"I will grasp the opportunity to invite you all, publishers, presidents of all publishers associations, policymakers, librarians, writers and intellectuals to attend the symposium," Spruijt said. The symposium's projected slogan is "Established rights, developed markets". "Copyright must go in parallel with the market atmosphere as information must be introduced to both rich and poor people," Spruijt added.

Programme Manager Beatrice Stauffer said that every four years the IPA invites publishers and their commercial partners to discuss cutting edge issues in the field of copyright law and cultural policy. The seventh IPA symposium will take place two days before the Abu Dhabi Book Fair in March 2010. Sessions on collective copyright licensing, digital and online distribution of copyrighted works, and competing with free content are the main discussion aspects of the symposium. Other panels dealing with copyright in Islamic law and buying and selling rights in emerging markets -- highlighting regional aspects of publishing -- are also scheduled.
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« Reply #71 on: February 03, 2009, 08:19:15 am »









On his part El-Muallim urges concerned authorities to take the required steps to implement the Florence Agreement on the Importation of Educational, Scientific and Cultural Materials and to support Egypt exporting books and culture and standing against piracy. He underlined the importance of respecting copyright, particularly in the face of the present international financial crisis. "Egypt must be a good example for all Arab countries," he said asserting that the IPA must protect authors and other creative artists.

Since its establishment in 1996, El-Muallim relates, the Arab Publishers Association succeeded to convince some concerned authorities to respect copyright and fight piracy. But regretfully, he continued, media elements were not all of the same conscience. And while some countries do not violate copyright, many force publishers and writers to surrender copyright in order to participate in cultural and publishing events.

Does a model for copyright exist among Arab countries? Spruijt responded that there is no model, but there are endeavours to protect copyright. "If there are correct efforts to protect printing and publishing rights there will, absolutely, be a base for all other copyright procedures, which will increase competition and the many art works to choose from," said Spruijt. For creators to compete, "a special infrastructure" of the government and police is needed to catch hijackers and pirates, Spruijt said.

During his two-day visit to Cairo, Spruijt met Mrs Suzanne Mubarak to discuss means of cooperation to spruce up children's schoolbooks, including inserting modern art to make books more attractive and enjoyable for children. The meeting also discussed Egypt's role in supporting the publishing industry in the Arab world and beyond, as well as translating Egyptian writers into foreign languages.

Spruijt described the "Reading for all" campaign spearheaded by Mrs Mubarak as a model not only for underdeveloped countries but also developed ones, as it extended the base of reading and spread a reading culture among Egyptian families and schoolchildren.

In his time in the Egyptian capital Spruijt also met Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif and Minister of Communications and Information Technology Tareq Kamel.

 


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« Reply #72 on: February 07, 2009, 08:11:10 am »









                                              Snapping pictures of the Pyramids






The Northern Advocate
06.02.2009
by Peter de Graaf

It's not just what you know, it's who you know.

And knowing the right people certainly helped when a tiny Whangarei firm was hired to take aerial photos of the Egyptian pyramids.

Lawrence and Elaine Ross, of Kokopu, are the Northland franchise holders for aerial photography company Skyworks.

Mostly they use a blimp - a 6m-long helium-filled balloon, like the Hindenburg in miniature - to photograph homes for real estate adverts.

The biggest thing they've photographed so far is the Kerikeri Bypass, the fancy new road that diverts traffic away from New Zealand's oldest buildings.


But, come April 2, they'll be snapping history on an altogether different scale when they float their blimp and remote-controlled camera over the 4500-year-old pyramids at Giza, Egypt.

Their unusual business opportunity came about when former Whangarei man Martin Van Rijswijk - now principal of the New Cairo British International School in the Egyptian capital - was looking for someone to photograph the school's 30th anniversary celebrations at the pyramids.

Because helicopters are a no-no at the pyramids, he first tried to find someone in Egypt who could take photos from a balloon. Then he tried the neighbouring countries, also without success. Then he tried the United States, where finding a company to do it was easy - the trouble was the astronomical price tag. Then he remembered his friends in Whangarei - and the fabulous aerial photos they had taken of his Kokopu home.

Crucially, the idea has the enthusiastic backing of Zahi Hawass, the man in charge of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities. Dr Hawass' say-so is vital before anything can happen at the pyramids, the only survivors of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

The Rosses' travel and accommodation will be covered, as will their single biggest cost - the $1200 worth of helium needed to fill the blimp. It normally stays inflated in a hefty trailer but will be deflated for the trip and packed into a suitcase.

The Rosses have travelled around Europe and the Pacific but this will be their first time in the Middle East.

"I'm looking forward to seeing a totally different, ancient culture," Mrs Ross said.
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« Reply #73 on: February 09, 2009, 08:15:11 am »









                                                Expanding on the cult of Osiris





Al Ahram Weekly
Feb. 9, 2009

Studying and restoring a part of Egypt's ancient history at Karnak Temples was the task of the Franco-Egyptian Research Centre of Karnak in 2008, Nevine El-Aref reports

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Clockwise from top: pillars hall of Tuthmosis IV; Ptolemaic bath; excavation work at Chabaka treasure; architectural survey at Ptah Temple; restoration at the Tuthmosis III's chapel

photos courtesy of the CFEETK
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The work undertaken by the Franco- Egyptian Research Centre of Karnak Temples (CFEETK) in 2008 was slightly different from in previous years. Last year's study focussed on restoration more than excavation. The site that took up much of the centre's attention was the Osirian cults and featured the chapel of Osiris Wennefer Neb-Djefau, the path of Ptah and the neighbouring chapels of Osiris Neb-Neheh and Nebankh-Pa-Usheb-Iad, as well as the temples of Osiris from Coptos, Opet and Khonsu.

To achieve an efficient progress in restoration at the chapel of Osiris Wennefer Neb-Djefau, the CFEETK had to continue excavation in the area in an attempt to complete the plan of the mud- brick walls that surround the chapel.

Egyptologist Laurent Coulon said that comparing archaeological investigations carried out at the chapel's south eastern façade and its east- western side opened to the Ptah path had given a better understanding of the stratigraphy and more clearly define the methods used for the foundation of the wall around the first gate of the sanctuary.

"Excavation and observation of the debris found between the chapel and the Ptah path, which were in a thicker level around the chapel's outer wall, provided more information about the construction of the chapel," Coulon pointed out. He explained that the information showed the chapel seemed to have been reconstructed at some point between the 30th Dynasty and the Ptolemaic era, while the thicker part of the debris proved that the wall continued until it reached the Ptah path. The steep slope between the chapel and the path indicated that no earlier construction was established there.

Three fire areas associated with an activity of bronze working, one of which was fitted out with bricks, were also found at the south-east of the chapel. A number of coins and some bronze slag were also uncovered in these structures, probably linked with the making of statuettes of Osiris found in the sector in 2003.
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« Reply #74 on: February 09, 2009, 08:19:42 am »









Cleaning work continued at the chapel of Osiris Neb-Neheh in a very confined way, especially in the perspective of removing the blocks lying in the dust. New reused blocks were discovered. The most significant was a fragment of a lintel showing Ankhnesneferibra, god Amun's wife playing a sistrum in front of Amun and followed by the great overseer Padineith. Emphasis was placed on the restoration of the blocks, which were found in a very bad state of conservation. Among them was a much damaged one showing Amun and Khonsu. A fragment of the façade of the naos, which bears the beginning of a hymn to Osiris engraved on the north doorjamb, was placed back in its original position.

Restoration of the chapel of Osiris Neb-Ankh- Pa-Usheb-Iad continued after it was reconstructed last year. Restorer Agnes Oboussier said that this year the walls were cleaned to preserve the paintings, which on its turn allowed for the completion of the epigraphic documentation.

The ceramics uncovered inside the large mud- brick building behind the chapel contained several coherent elements dating back to the 26th, 27th and 30th dynasties. The levels posterior to the last activities of the building delivered abundant sherds dating back to the fifth and fourth centuries BC. Among these sherds appeared some Mediterranean imports or productions coming from bordering countries, such as amphorae from Cyprus, Phoenicia and the Aegean area.

Archaeologist Mohamed Hussein said that analysis of the pottery uncovered inside deep pits revealed that during the Ptolemaic period the southern part of the building had been dismantled. The most significant elements, often in a very fragmentary shape, were Egyptian amphorae in brown Nile clay, characterised by a high neck decorated with a network of streaks as well as cups, small convex dishes and bowls of Hellenic tradition. Pots and vessels with floral decoration painted in black were also identified.
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